It’s not difficult to see why, among the different New Age practices, tarot card reading is one of the most popular. The idea of being able to use a set of cards, tarot cards in particular, to be able to divine the future, find answers to questions, or help determine choices is alluring for many people. What’s more, tarot cards are always presented in aesthetically beautiful and eye-catching ways, and there are thousands of different designs in multiple genres that can cater to anyone’s personal taste.
However, even though tarot cards are so ubiquitous that you can find them virtually everywhere, so many people are still confused as to what they actually are. Here is a short and simple beginner’s guide to someone who is new to the world of taromancy.
What are Tarot Cards?
Although tarot cards have been around since the 1400’s, they were initially used as picture cards for entertainment purposes rather than for divination. It was only during the 1785 when renowned French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette started using tarot cards for as tool of prediction by creating links between the cards, ancient Egyptian lore, European lore, and astrology. During the 1890’s a group called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn led by husband-and-wife team MacGregor and Moina Maters wrote a manual entitled “Book T”. This book details how a tarot card deck is used and is now considered the go-to literature for tarot card information. In 1909, Pamela Colman Smith and Arthur Edward Waite designed a tarot card deck known as the Rider-Waite deck, and it is still considered to be one of the most popular variants of the tarot card deck today.
The modern tarot card deck is composed of 78 cards and has two different types of cards, the major and minor arcanas.
The Major Arcana is known as the deck of greater secrets and has 22 suit-less cards. This deck includes cards such as Death, Judgement, the Hanged Man, Strength, and Wheel of Fortune, to name a few. The cards are numbered in Roman numbers from I to XXII, with the Fool card being the only unnumbered card. The Major Arcana is used to symbolize major events or influences in a person’s life.
The Minor Arcana is also known as the deck of lesser secrets and is composed of 56 cards, divided into 14 cards under four different suits (similar to playing cards). In modern decks, these four suits are swords, wands, cups, and coins. Since they are similar to playing cards, there are face cards (Kings, Queens, and Knights), as well as numbered cards from 1 to 10. Minor Arcana cards symbolize smaller events in a person’s life.
Is the Deck Really Important?
The first step in learning how to read tarot cards is owning your own deck. Practitioners of tarot reading believe that for truly meaningful and fruitful readings, you must have a deck that speaks to you. Some believe that your first deck must be gifted. Therefore if you find a deck that genuinely resonates with you on a deeper level, there’s no reason for you not to buy it for yourself!
You can find countless deck designs in both brick-and-mortar stores or even online. When it comes to choosing your first deck, listen to your gut. Does it make you feel excited? Are you entranced by the symbols and their artwork, and you want to learn more about a certain deck’s history? Do you gravitate towards classic or modern interpretations?
Remember, there is no “one” right deck for everyone; just find one that “speaks” to you on a personal level.
What Can I Learn during a Tarot Card Reading?
What you take away from a tarot card session will depend on what you need to achieve. Generally tarot card readings are used to obtain guidance and clarity, so if you are struggling with a major life decision or you feel that you are trapped in a certain situation, you can use tarot cards to help you plan your next move or simply clear your mind of all the worries and anxieties that are plaguing you.
How Will I Know if Tarot Card Reading is Right For Me?
If you’re unsure whether a tarot card reading would be helpful for you, it would be beneficial for you to speak to an experienced and expert tarot card reader. For first-time subjects, you can get a new age tarot reading for free. This way you get the basic idea of how things work before going to a tarot reader in person.